When you’re a university student you learn many things about yourself. You discover that you’re unwilling to pay £40 for a text book. 8am starts for morning lectures are plausible if there is copious amounts of coffee involved. But most importantly, you find out your ability to procrastinate can reach heights you didn’t previously think were possible.
It was when those deadlines were approaching that I often found myself in what we called a ‘YouTube black hole’ – when you’re watching a video about Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, and 2 hours later you’re still on YouTube, but watching a dog jump 5ft in the air to catch bubbles.
It was during a YouTube black hole that I once stumbled across a video, or more specifically a ‘vlog’ with a man called Shay Carl. This guy had been filming his life every day and uploading it for the past 4 or 5 years. What shocked me more what the amount of views – over half a million – which he was getting almost every day.
But this guy isn’t alone, there is Charles Trippy, Tanya Burr, Tyler Oakley, Jenna Marbles, Jeana and Jesse Wellens, Zoella – this list could go on and on. [bm - youtube]
And it wasn’t just their lives they were filming, but great 5 or 10 minute videos which would hold your attention all the way through. One which gained a huge amount of publicity at the time was a video by Jenna Marbles called ‘How to trick people into thinking you’re good looking’ – this video currently has 59 million views.
So why am I telling you this on a Marketing blog? Because brands have noticed their potential reach too.Tanya Burr has recently been sponsored by Mulberry, Shay Carl just posted a sponsored video for a Disney movie, Charles Trippy is regularly mentioning Audible.com in his videos, the list is growing every day.
And why are brands doing this? Firstly these YouTubers are being watched by billions of people. The views on some of the videos beat the average viewing audience for some prime time Saturday night shows on TV.
Secondly it’s because of the authority and influence these people have. Although there are currently no figures publicly available to emphasis my point, it’s safe to say there is an increase in sales after a mention in a YouTube video.
It may be some time before this type of sponsorship becomes more widely adopted in the marketing world – however there is a lot marketers can learn from this.
Content is King – we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Producing or sponsoring content which people want to engage with and share is valuable to you and your marketing efforts.
Connect with your audience through a trusted source. In the same way these brands are going through personalities who their viewers respect – make sure you share your content on platforms your potential users will want to find you on.
And finally – Michelle Obama recently did a video with Tyler Oakley to spread her message about higher education in the US. These people are gaining more and more influence in the online and offline world, so it’s time to sit up and pay attention.
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